I had a bit of a meltdown this evening, before James and I were due to leave to see a comedy show. I've been pining for Mum a lot since I got back from New York. It's almost like I took a holiday from grief and came back only to experience it all over again. Fresh grief. Nice. In the end I pulled myself together, got myself there and had a good time, but it wasn't easy.
So here's the truth:
I'm not in good shape. I'm so stressed that I've got shingles on my stomach, and shooting pains around my shoulder and neck. I'm not sleeping well at all. I'm knackered all the time. I feel constantly guilty because I can't live at the pace I used to, so even though I give people the impression that I'm coping okay, I'm actually feeling like a tiny piranha swimming the wrong way up the Ganges, my fins are flapping so fast that they are wearing me out. At best I am functioning at around 70%, which means I can hold a conversation and crack a joke, but need to compensate by staring at the wall on my own for an hour or so every night. Usually at around 2am. My doctor, counsellor and family all tell me to take it easy, and give myself a break by taking less on and indulging myself a little more than usual. But when I do I feel extravagant, selfish and like I'm constantly letting other people down. And worrying about that just makes things ten times worse.
Grieving is like climbing a really greasy pole, or being a counter in 'Snakes and Ladders'. I don't know when I'm going to be back up to full speed again, and that's frustrating for me and others close to me. One week I can take two steps forward, and then three steps back. Another I can take four steps forward and no steps back. Sometimes I hit a big fat snake and end up back near the start of the board again. I want to be better. I don't need to win, I just need to know that I'll finish the game; even if I have to start all over again in a few years time.